On our way to Gundaroo, we had the idea of heading back up to Cairns for a couple of reasons. Our idea was to hike/bike the section of the BNT that we had missed up there while we were still fit and before we found jobs and started to pay rent! Our plans came into fruition, and we left the boys in a 60 acre paddock with sheep for company – we would know whether they could handle the cold temperatures by the time we got back and whether they would need constant rugging or not.
We took all the gear we might need for our hike with us, and in between catching up with family and friends, we prepped ourselves and borrowed some bikes. Gav, Rob and Indy drove us up to Ayton where we had made the decision to float around to Mossman as the rivers were too high to cross after Cyclone Ita. After smoko, we got on our bikes and rode to the start of the creb track. Rob and Gav then picked up our bikes with the plan of meeting us on the other side of the daintree river in a couple of days time.
On our own again, we were greeted by a steady uphill but at the top were the most magnificent views over the rainforest, the river and the ocean. We continued walking along a dirt road and ran into lots of cars travelling in and out – some locals, some visiting the roaring meg waterfalls. We were surprised by the number of people that we saw! We stopped for some lunch which was a novelty for us – normally we continue to camp so that the horses are carrying load for less time, and so they get more time to eat. Shoes back on and the first couple of steps were a bit wincy with some new blisters starting, but we made it to camp in good time, and found a lovely little spot next to a creek. We could see evidence of Carol and the boys, and Jackie and Gibbo, both who had camped with their horses on their journeys north and south respectively. We spent the afternoon with our feet in the river which was lovely and cool, until we looked at the sky which was threatening rain. We set up camp before the light sprinkle started and managed to keep everything nice and dry.
Shoes on (with tape over those newly formed blisters) and we were packed up in 20 minutes after breaky and on our way to complete our 25km day. The night before we had been trying to send a message from our sat phone to let Gav know we were travelling well, but found out our credit had expired. All we could do was keep going and hope we would run on time and Gav would show up at the other end like we had discussed! We wandered along as the track deteriorated and ended up in washouts and step ups and downs – there were signs informing 4WDs that they were not allowed in and in case of a vehicle getting stuck, there would be no rescue attempt. if found, there would be a on the spot $2000 fine. Despite the closure, we saw multiple vehicles heading through the track which was pretty slippery from the recent rain. Wandering along the track, we were talking about gav and the Sat phone – no joke, we walked around a corner to find a free to landline telephone sitting by the side of the track. Wondering if it was an illusion, we picked up the phone, dialled Gav who picked up – we couldn’t stop laughing in amazement! We had one hill which took about 20 minutes to climb and 30 to descend, but it was pretty smooth sailing. We hit camp by 3 o’clock and decided to park about 5m above the river which was only ankle deep at the crossing. I peeled off my shoes to find some pretty nice blisters – the one on my R little toe was actually the size of my little toe. I decided to burst it and tape it the next day which was alot more pleasant than trying to fit my foot back into my shoe.
Overnight it rained. And rained. At one point I wondered whether I was getting wet, but decided there was nothing I could do about it so I just went back to sleep. Morning came and we peeked out the tent to find the creek lapping the bottom of the tent, and underneath my sleeping mat was a stream of water. We packed up all the wet gear, took our shoes off and walked across the swollen creek – it was now up to my belly button and we had to try and lift our backpacks and keep them out of the water! The track was extremely slippery and we were both glad we brought out hiking poles… despite this, I still ended up on my bum, sliding down 2 of the red clay hills, laughing my head off! The last challenge of the creb track was to cross the daintree river, which is well known for its huge crocodiles. We scanned the crossing quickly, decided the water was too shallow, clear and moving too quickly for the crocs and proceeded to cross the knee deep crossing no worries at all.
From there we switched to bikes for the 45km ride into Mossman. Despite the headwind, rain and flat tire I got 4 km out of Mossman (it was a hard slog from there) we made it. Itis a pretty good feeling knowing that the BNT is now complete up to Gundaroo… 4300km done and dusted!
At the start of the Creb track
One of the many creeks along the way
Random phone in the middle of the bush
The river before it rose
It was pretty slippery!
The daintree crossing
Indy dog lending a helping hand